Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wing flapping

A very busy week has left my blog deprived of a post, for this, I apologize.

It has, however, been a very exciting week. I had my DMus convocation on Thursday. It feels great to have this closure to my life as a student - one that has taken me from the first day of my Bachelor degree, to the last day of my Doctoral degree, sixteen years, 2 months and 22 days (who's counting?) It's been a great ride however, especially the last ten years of Masters and Doctoral studies.

Perhaps there should be some explanation as to why it took sixteen years of post-secondary and graduate school to get here. As this blog is relatively new, I feel the need once in a while to give some background information on myself to fill in the thirty-some years of my life before I started Podium Speak. If for no other reason, than to have a journal of my life for future eyes to see - family, friends, and who knows, my biographer?

High school was NOT my thing. I passed - barely. I think a few of my teachers allowed me my 50% minimum as a gift in fact. It wasn't that I wasn't smart, or didn't have the ability to do well in school. There were a number of factors, both internal, and external. I was a late bloomer (my grade nine school picture, when I was fourteen, looked as though I was about eleven). I didn't fit in very well with the "Jock" high school that I attended. Football, Basketball and Volleyball was our chief export of the school. I found myself in the band room most of the time, playing the piano for the school choirs, the stage band, playing trumpet and timpani in the concert band. I had a few friends from the school, about only five of which I still keep close contact with. I was also heavily involved in music outside the school, with piano, voice, harmony and history lessons on a nightly biases, coupled with three nights of church choir. I did most of my piano practicing in the mornings, and the rest in the evenings. School Homework tended to fall of the plate.

Needless to say, my first and second attempts at full time admission to the university, even with a strong audition - in piano of all things, was declined due to my poor academic record. During those years, I did two part time years in the department of music proving that I was able to take University courses and do well. I completed four courses a year, the maximum allowed by a part time student, was finally accepted as a full time student, where I did the remainder of my four years, switched from Piano to Organ performance. My last year was on scholarship, and I graduated "Cum Laude" with my BMus. If only my high school teachers, not to mention elementary school teachers, could have seen me. (One quote from my grade four teacher to my parents "The world is too big for him.")

The next fall I was accepted as the top applicant into the Choral Conducting program, 3,000 km away from my home town, for what was to be a three year journey, hoping to return back home. After I received my Masters, I decided to stay out west. After a year off, I entered the Doctoral program. Both degrees were on scholarship and full teaching assistantships. I did most the course work in two years, the second recital at the end of the fourth year, candidacy in the fifth year and defended my thesis at the end of the sixth. In the midst of all this, I've found a home here. A wonderful wife, great jobs (although, still longing for the tenure track), and wonderful friends, who enter and leave the city from time to time.

I had considered calling this post "The last days of the best of my life" as the past year really has been among the best, if not THE best of my life - however, I really believe there are many more great days to come. I can only think of the joys that will come to us as we continue our lives together from this point on. Job opportunities for both of us, starting a family, music, music and more music.

To quote the honorary doctorate speech at my convocation. We shall continue to flap our wings!

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